Kohli won't disappoint at No 3: Coach

Aug 23, 2012, 07:54 IST | Harit N Joshi

For Virat Kohli, whose Test career is just eight matches old, it will definitely be a huge challenge when he takes guard in all probability at the No 3 position against New Zealand in the first Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad today

Going by whispers within the Indian team management, the 23-year-old is likely to occupy retired former India skipper Rahul Dravid’s famed batting position. Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma is confident that his lad will not fail.

Virat Kohli bats in the nets ahead of the first Test against the Kiwis in Hyderabad. PIC/AFP

“It is a great opportunity for him to showcase his talent. He is also keen to play at No 3. He used to bat at that position for the Delhi Ranji team. He enjoys that position. He loves such challenges,” New Delhi-based Sharma told MiD DAY

Though Kohli did not have an ideal start to his Test career with a highest score of 30 (against West Indies in Windsor Park) in his first three matches, he began to show his prowess in the fourth Test against the same opponent at the Wankhede Stadium where he slammed two half-centuries last November. He may have started the Australia tour on a poor note, but he finished as the highest run-getter (300 in four Tests) of the series.

Appetite for runs
The fact that he finished above experienced batters like Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman shows his appetite for runs in testing conditions. He started to find form in the third Test at Perth, slamming 44 and 75 in first and second innings respectively. He then went on to score a gritty 116 — the only century by an Indian in the series — at the Adelaide Oval.

“Kohli loves to play long innings. So this position (No 3) will help him do so. Only thing, however, he has to be cautious in the beginning. He has to settle down first… leave a few balls in the beginning. He has to take his time to build his innings and then go for his shots. We have discussed a plan. I hope he sticks to it,” said Sharma without revealing much about his recent conversation with the young batting star.

Former India stumper Farokh Engineer said Kohli would ‘certainly’ do well at No 3. “I am confident of Virat succeeding at No 3 position. He has all the capabilities to succeed at that position,” he said.  

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